Welcome back to Liferay Symposium North America Day Two!

Stay tuned for live coverage of everything happening today with our live blog, which will be updated throughout the day in reverse chronological order. Click here for our full coverage of Day One.


That's it for Liferay Symposium North America 2017!

Thank you for following along and we wish safe travels to everyone who made it out to Austin. We hope to see you next year!

4:20 PM - Closing Remarks

Bryan Cheung closed out Liferay Symposium by highlighting the differences that the Liferay community is continuing to make around the world, including a well recently dug in Ethiopia, providing clean water for many people who previously had to walk countless miles every day to get water for their families.

In addition, Bryan revealed that 182 people filled out candy grams for the Austin Angels charity drive. As a result, the Liferay Foundation will be donating $18,200 to Austin Angels.

4:00 PM: Keynote - Susan Ramirez

Susan Ramirez, President and CEO of Austin Angels, spoke about the importance of community when working to enact change within the foster care system, which is the focus of Austin Angels.

Susan shared insights into the foster care system, including the statistics that 80% of the prison population is made up of people formerly in foster care and that 50% of the homeless population is made up of former foster children. In addition, only 50% of foster children will graduate high school.

Susan founded Austin Angels after attending a conference where she heard of the frequent abuse suffered by two young boys who stayed in the foster care system from an early age until they both became 18 years old, by which time they had been in 22 and 23 different placements. One of these boys was found by his father at 18 years old and went on to found the largest foster and adopt organization in Texas, but the other committed suicide soon after aging out of the system.

These stories show the need to make a difference in the lives of foster children and the foster system as a whole.

Austin Angels launched a pilot program in 2013 and Susan shared how soon after beginning the program, Austin Angels was able to help turn around the school performance and life of a teenager within the foster system.

Austin Angels focuses on three areas of impact:

  1. Intentional Giving - Empowering pre-existing groups to speak into the lives of local foster children and providing a Love Box every month that includes the things they both need and love.
  2. Relationship Building - Austin Angels group members also participate in the lives of the foster children they provide for so that there can be a sense of normalcy in their lives.
  3. Mentorship - Groups also help educate and prepare children for what they need when they age out of foster care, including financial planning, job interview preparation and the other needed skiils for transitioning into a successful and healthy adult life.

Susan closed by highlighting a quote by Winston Churchhill - "We make a living by what we get ... We make a life by what we give."

3:20 PM - Transforming the Employee Experience for an Iconic Media Brand: Hearst Inc.'s Journey

Clay Olbon, Advanced Tech and Architecture with Accenture, and Johann Rodriguez, Senior Product Manager at Hearst, Inc., revealed how Hearst built on Liferay's platform to create a digital experience that connected the more than 360 separate businesses and more than 20,000 employees that make up Hearst, Inc.

Hearst had created Hearst Labs, a homegrown portal that tested the waters of the company to see if there was a desire for a robust portal, which led to the creation of MyHearst, which is a single portal that includes news and announcements, documents, and many more capabilities focused on connecting and equipping employees.

Johann detailed problems including multiple home pages and logins, duplicate content presented differently, time-consuming processes, lack of integration and a large amount of clutter. To solve these issues, Hearst teamed up with Accenture and selected Liferay, then used cross-functional teams to coordinate on functionality, appearance and usage. In addition, the company sought out as much feedback as possible through user personas, stakeholder showcases, focus groups, three alpha build releases and the use of a feedback mechanism.

This led to the launch of MyHearst v1.0 on October 1, with a wide variety of components, which was demonstrated live by Johann so that the audience could see how elements like the carousel, customizable bookmarks, and persistent search bar empower employees to find whatever they need, whenever they need it. The successful launch of MyHearst includes 17,000 unique users that have visited the site in less than a month since launch and a very low amount of help desk tickets.

Johann revealed that Hearst plans to continue expanding the portal and showed attendees current wireframes for a sneak peek at the future of MyHearst. This included a Google Maps-like interface to see all offices in the company and their respective employees.

Clay then took over for the second half, showing his insights as the technical lead for Accenture on the MyHearst project.

Site strategy was a critical component of the design process, as it was crucial that they understood the business rules for content visibility, defined the approach to meeting business rules and how these elements could leverage OOB Liferay capabilities.

Clay also highlighted that a mature DevOps process was key to the success of launching MyHearst, with strong guiding principles helping to ensure that Liferay could be used in the ways Hearst needed for their portal. As he walked through the advantages and challenges of the process, Clay gave helpful strategies regarding how Hearst approached Liferay software, what was used to reconfigured software in the ways they uniquely needed and how their development team is structured for a consistently successful strategy for portal management on Liferay.

In addition, Clay emphasized that better understanding how to do things the "Liferay Way" can help leverage capabilities instead of altering them to a vast degree, with the customizable user card architecture being a key example of the unique power of Liferay, which will grow larger and larger within the overall MyHearst development strategy going forward.

2:40 PM - Diagnose Your SEO Problems: Common Issues in Liferay Projects

Corbin Murakami, Sr. Specialist in Demand Generation at Liferay, Inc., discussed the common issues affecting search engine optimization on Liferay websites, as well as what can be done to better understand and improve your site's SEO.

Corbin walked the audience through several major points in better understanding SEO, including creating an axis that showed the most common and important SEO issues that can affect Liferay websites, seen here:

Technical Warnings include using overly dynamic URLs that lead to long and unfriendly URLs while Content Warnings include bad search presentation, leading to issues regarding how page titles and meta descriptions are presented in search results.

Severe Technical Issues includes 4xx and 5xx errors, which cause page authority from links to be lost and a bad experience for users. Solutions can be found by identifying top offenders, identifying the source of the issue, applying 301 redirects to relevant content, and leaving the rest as 404. In addition, poorly written robot.txt can prevent proper crawling of the site's pages.

Severe Content Issues include bad H1 tags, such as using more than one or none at all, which can be easily corrected. In addition, lack of, or non-descriptive, title tags can prevent proper indexing and site administrators should allow the creation of title tags.

Corbin also presented strong tools that can be used to strengthen SEO efforts, including Google Search Console, Bing Webmaser Tools, Screaming Frog SEO Spider, SEO Macroscape and Facebook Open Graph Debugger. By understanding what can negatively impact your site and eliminating these issues, combined with efforts to strengthen your site's overall SEO, websites can have a far stronger chance at ranking for the desired keywords.

1:50 PM - Finding Moments of Truth: Customer Journey Mapping to Better Serve Your Customers

Henry Nakamura, Senior Customer Experience Manager at Liferay, Inc., gave attendees insights into what it takes to identify moments of truth and positively impact a customer journey through the creation of a customer journey map.

Henry highlighted that while some people's feelings toward brands are obvious, and great brands generate positive feelings from target audiences, many companies may not be aware of just how much impact their customer experience may have on the feelings of their consumers. However, digital transformation has completely disrupted tried and true methods of providing satisfying customer experiences.

In a recent conference, Henry heard one bank representative state that the biggest challenge relating to digital transformation is the "struggle with remaining relevant."

Customer experience is on the front line of better understanding what audiences feel about a business and what can be done to improve these opinions. However, everyone in a business today has a responsibility to developing good customer experience

Henry highlighted Customer Centricity strategy, which is doing business with your customer in a way that provides a positive experience during their length of engagement in order to drive repeat business, customer loyalty and profits. Doing so is in service of providing "customer-first" experiences. Companies today use a wide variety of tools to try and get to this results and Henry specifically highlighted two of them: Journey Maps and Moments of Truth.

In journey maps, companies detail the many touchpoints and their related emotions in order to better understand how and why audiences move along their journey with a company, as well as what may be positively or negatively affecting their experience. Within these journey maps can be found moments of truth, which are critical touchpoints that potentially define a customer relationship.

As a way to better understand a journey map, Henry walked the room through a hotel stay journey map. Within this journey were specific areas that a company should focus on in order to greatly increase the quality of the customer experience, with a problematic check-in process inspired by a real-life experience of Henry's being the largest area in need of improvement.

Henry showed that finding and improving moments of truth can be done through the use of data and survey validation, intuition and a focus on what may be the most difficult aspects to change.

Most of all, companies should focus on touchpoints customers cannot control in order to most effectively address moments of truth.

1:10 PM - Transforming Customer Experience with the Power of Forms

Charlles Pinon, Product Manager at Liferay, Inc., gave insights into the latest innovations in Liferay Forms and how they can be used within marketing, customer support and various business applications.

As Charlles pointed out, forms are everywhere in the modern user experience and are essential within everyday life. Through a use case example with Expedia, Charlles showed that even a small change like removing the company name caused major confusion regarding what the customers thought they needed to provide and led to a large amount of failed transactions.

According to Charlles, good forms are not only complex to build, but are filled with relevant questions. He covered three important aspects of the evolution of Liferay Forms:

  1. Personalization - Finding a balance between a high level of personalization and a minimum cost of customization. Through a low code approach, businesses can better personalize the forms as they needed but do not require a high level of investment, which Charlles demonstrated through a walkthrough of building fields and the ability to use a variety of field types, including required, enable and disable, autofill, show and hide, jump to page, calculations and more. By having access to these various types of fields, a form can become highly customizable in very little time in order to meet the unique needs of each form being created by a company. Charlles also showcased new upcoming field types, field library, autosave and multi-language support, which will be introduced in the next Liferay Forms update.
  2. Relevant Data + Low Code Application - Companies need to better understand abandonment. By studying the rate of form abandonment and using A/B testing, a company can see what may be causing users to abandon form completion and make changes that will prevent this from occurring. Through the use of chain analytics, companies can connect clickthroughs, form completions and document uploads to understand the total rate of process completion. When better understood, these insights can be applied through low code applications for faster deployment of new forms and form changes.
  3. Transform the Conversation - Forms are evolving into conversational forms, seen in today's chatbots and voice-powered digital assistants like Alexa and Siri. By powering webforms and turning them into conversations with voice assistants, the data-focused goals of forms can be combined with the user-focused goals of voice assistants in order to make the most of these data gathering services and bring the most value possible out of your digital transformation strategies.

All of these evolutions can empower both Liferay Forms and businesses that use Forms to better reach their target audience.

12:00 PM - Lunchtime

Attendees spent the final lunch of Liferay Symposium 2017 connecting with one another and exploring new possibilities in numerous ways, including:

Taking in more lightning sessions, with topics including connecting NodeJS with Liferay and the privacy feature of Liferay DXP.

Getting fast insights into Liferay with speed consulting.

Learning about the brand new WeDeploy firsthand from Jonni Lundy and Zeno Rocha.

Being able to experience a workplace demonstration of how Liferay DXP can be used to create an Internet of Things environment at an office.

11:10 AM - Product Roadmap

Ed Chung, Liferay's VP of Product Management, is providing insights regarding Liferay DXP and the roadmap going forward. Exciting news! Join us next year so you don't miss out.

11:00 AM - The Liferay Pulse Awards

Every year, we enjoy taking the time to acknowledge our contributors and outstanding members of the community with the Liferay Pulse Awards.

This year, awards were given out for:

  • Best Overall Digital Transformation: Smith & Nephew
  • Best B2B Digital Experience: Infosys Finacle
  • Best B2B Digital Experience: LifeCare
  • Best Omnichannel Experience: Spire Energy
  • Customer Connect MVP: Bob Ward from QAD and Michael Goldstein from HCA.
  • Community Excellence - Partners: A.C.A. IT Solutions, Accenture, Cignex Datamatics, EmDev, SMC, Webtown and Xtivia
  • Contributor of the Year - Individuals: Juan Gonzalez, Andrew Jardine and Cristoph Rabel

Liferay is always grateful for the many people and organizations that have been able to use our platform to reach new audiences in new ways and it's great to give them recognition for their efforts each year!

10:20 AM - Guest Keynote: Curtis (Bob) Burns

Guest keynote speaker Curtis (Bob) Burns, Social Media/Public Affairs Specialist with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spoke on what led to the government agency's Instagram account being ranked the fourth best account to follow by Rolling Stone.

Bob has been with the TSA since 2002 and began blogging for the organization in 2008 in order to better communicate with the public regarding policies and procedures in ways that were not possible previously.

In 2016, the TSA screened 738,318,264 passengers for an average of more than 2 million per day. With so many people interacting with the agency, there was a need to better communicate and facilitate stronger relationships. This was met by the blog, which was greeted with a large readership and the ability to actively meet customer complaints, provide new information and improve public perception of the agency. The success of the blog eventually led to the launch of TSA's Instagram account.

Rolling Stone went on to rank the TSA Instagram account at #4 of The 100 Best Instagram Accounts, including beating out Beyonce! The publication highlighted the insights provided by the account into what officers had to deal with on a regular basis and a unique perspective not possible for those who do not work in the agency.

Bob highlighted that the TSA has a neverending source of content for the Instagram account, which is generated by countless incident reports and their associated images and curated by a focus on finding the strongest content that doesn't just entertain but also informs. These incident images are broken up by public service announcements when needed and a more human look into the TSA, which can include images sent in by travelers.

Bob went on to highlight the many different types of content provided, everything from heartbreaking to heartwarming stories, some truly weird items that no flyer should have ever tried to carry onto an airplane and infographics that both enlighten and shock, as needed. This potent blend of topics has helped TSA to continue to connect with flyers across the country, but also prevent potential mishaps that can save time and money for both the TSA and travelers.

In conjunction with many great examples of why the TSA Instagram has connected with such a wide audience, Bob highlighted how the agency uses their Twitter account Ask TSA, which uses a dedicated team to field questions through the social media site. Surprisingly, the Twitter account didn't take away from a number of calls fielded by the call center, but rather opened up customer service to a whole new audience. These Twitter questions are sometimes cross-posted into the Instagram account for interrelated promotion.

Bob closed by considering whether Instagram is right for every company. If a company has a really good use for the social media platform and a way to connect with audiences in ways that were never possible before, then Instagram could be right for your business. A well managed social media presence can change the conversation about a business, much like it did for TSA.

9:40 AM - Digital Experience Platforms: Analyzing the New Market

Christine Reyes, Marketing Content Creator at Liferay, Inc., discussed how today's digital experience platforms can give companies to chance to rethink their technology architecture and how they can uniquely integrate products through leading-edge capability. As Liferay has moved past being simply a portal and into being a digital experience platform, Christine has dived into discerning the true advantages of this type of platform.

Liferay defines a digital experience platform as an enterprise software seeking to meet the needs of companies undergoing digital transformation, with the ultimate goal of providing better customer experiences.

By using DXPs, companies around the world are seeking to better understand the unique interests of target audiences and find new markets before competitors. These capabilities are becoming crucial in the modern era of market disruption being caused by digital transformation. Christine pointed out the modern automobile industry, with numerous businesses now providing subscription services for owning and leasing cars, with the purchasing process now akin to buying a phone rather than buying a car. However, these new demands and a new way of owning a car have caused the entire process to be reworked and need a new type of software.

Digital experience platforms are meant to solve these new problems in today's age of digital transformation, however, Christine highlighted the many different approaches to these platforms. There are three main pillars that define what makes a digital experience platform:

  1. DXPs Have Broad Capabilities Baked In - This can prevent redundancies in innovation and help teams focus on getting valuable and customized software launched faster and more efficiently.
  2. DXPs Encompass the Entire Customer Journey - After a product has been sold, companies today still need to provide for customers, including using software to track potential problems and the need for future service.
  3. DXPs Prioritize Integration for a Unified Platform - There's a flexibility that is possible with DXPs that can integrate with anything, which is necessary due to today's continued innovation and the creation of new technologies, such as Internet-of-Things-powered devices.

As Christine highlighted, DXPs solve the challenges you didn't plan for and then discussed what today's top DXPs can currently do for customers, as well as what Forrester values in today's DXPs.

Modern DXPs are often the evolution of software coming from different backgrounds, such as commerce heritage platforms being strong in commerce aspects of a DXP, but potentially weaker in other areas.

Closing out, Christine highlighted what digital transformation can look like with a digital experience platform, showing how a new meal delivery service known as Wellio is using artificial intelligence to track what users like to eat and anticipate preferences for individually customized meals without the need for the company to constantly create a new meal for each customer. 

Transformation with a DXP means that a company can start anywhere and help modern innovation and today's enhanced technologies coexist with pre-existing systems, as well as the gradual process of updating and digitizing old processes as needed.

9:00 AM - Collaborative Enterprise Networks: How DXP Enhances Experience

Michael Goldstein, Manager of Development Technology at HCA Healthcare, revealed how the Hospital Corporation of America recently upgraded from Liferay 6.1 to DXP for improved coordination of more than 600 intranet sites, enhancement of blogging and message boards, new forms, mobile experience and more.

On average, HCA has 80,000 active users, 2.6 million page views and more than 400 active sites per month. HCA sought to drive enterprise content through a corporate homepage built on Lexicon, dynamic content that is surfaced through Liferay Portlets and the ability to quickly provide emergency news and calls to action.

Michael demonstrated how HCA is focused on going past the typical intranet site, as the organization is working to drive meaningful conversations through the message boards and blogs powered by Liferay in order to foster community. Sites vary from application hosting to empower workers to a hub that helps organize both work schedules and charity events.

Michael also shared how HCA's sites have been able to specifically drive engagement with their nursing community and foster two-way communication with the community around the world, as both HCA and its community members are able to blog and spread awareness of issues and needs.

HCA is dedicated to supporting a collaborative culture, with monthly site administrator meetings providing training and bringing attention to new development, emails from executives highlighting great moments within the community and many more efforts to better recognize and support the community.

HCA's readership continues to grow, with 6,400 users subscribed, approximately 9,300 monthly message board views and 32,000 monthly blog views. In addition, HCA has had their intranet go mobile through responsive design and web content templates that are easy to use by site administrators without the need for training concerning mobile development. Today, more than 40,000 mobile devices are being managed by HCA's mobile intranet developments.

Michael revealed that going forward, HCA is working on using Liferay DXP to create a single stop for informational and collaborative needs within HCA, easier user experiences across applications and enabling customized or automated experiences. Through the use of additional Liferay features like Forms, HCA is working to create a cohesive and easy to use platform for all types of users that is also reducing costs for the company.

8:40 AM - Breakfast

Good morning! Grab your breakfast, get ready and don't forget to check out the many great booths at Liferay Symposium North America 2017, including the Austin Angels charity drive. Sessions are set to begin at 9:00 am.